Thursday, November 15, 2012

Double Whammy

by Carl Hiaasen

Hot-headed private detective R. J. Decker is hired to prove that TV host Dickie Lockhart cheats to win fortunes in Florida bass-fishing tournaments. Decker soon finds out that the stakes are so high people are willing to kill to keep secrets, but he finds an ally in an apparently deranged, roadkill-eating hermit who calls himself Skink, as well as a couple of honest cops.  Adding to the cast are a trio of moron hillbillies, an amoral hottie who seduces Decker and helps frame him for murder, and the good Reverend Weeb, Lockhart's sponsor on the Outdoor Christian Network, whose hobbies include prostitutes, fake faith healing, and land-grabbing.

It’s just as madcap as the summary sounds, with colorful heroes and villains (such as the killer who spends the final scenes of the novel with a decapitated, rotting bulldog’s head clamped on his gangrenous arm). This is the second Hiaasen novel I’ve read, and it’s seems much of a piece with Tourist Season: the same crazed pace and surreal satire, as well as the same dubious plot points (I’m not sure how the gruesome death of Decker’s client, after the death of Lockhart, helps Decker fight the charge of blackmail and murder).  It’s not worth dissecting, of course; it’s just manic zany fun.

three stars

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